About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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The Quarantined Church


In this 2020 Covid 19 environment some Christians are complaining because of government restrictions relating to church meetings.  They see this as a possible end-time scenario to shut down church.  If that is so, rejoice.  Don't complain.  Your full redemption is near.  Whatever you think about our present situation, should Christians be seen as complainers by those they desire to win to Jesus?  Was Jesus or any New Testament personality noted for his or her complaining? 


God being universally and spiritually sovereign is agreed upon by almost all Christians, but do we live what we believe?  Do our words and actions demonstrate God's sovereignty, even in this Covid 19 culture?  If God is universally sovereign, He is certainly sovereign over our present situation.  That being so, there are lessons to learn, not complaints to be vocalized.     


From my vantage point, and I am generalizing, what is commonly called church in the West is overly organized, tediously traditional, and meaninglessly mechanical.  It's how folk/country singer Emmylou Harris described the music industry on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Will The Circle Be Unbroken," volume 2 album released in 1989.  As she introduced the song "Riding Alone" she noted that in the process of making records we have lost the living room experience in music.  That is, in the commercialization of music, singers and musicians no longer enjoy each other's presence as they play and sing in their living rooms.  Instead, they meticulously manufacture each track as they maneuver their way through the technicalities of a sales-driven music industry.  For them, music has become mechanical and non-relational, and that, in my opinion, portrays the state of much of today's western church.     


Church in the West has lost its relational living room experience that the New Testament teaches is church.  In many respects church has become mechanical and non-relational, and that does little to enhance the effectiveness of a meeting.  Without these heart-felt personal and supportive relationships, meetings can become routine and even boring.  Read how Jesus feels about the mechanical, non-relational church.  Revelation 2:5 reads:


"Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand [church] from its place."


Revelation 1:20 states that the lampstand mentioned in the above verse is the church.  If, then, the community of believers to whom these words were directed did not return to its relational first love, Jesus would shut down the church.  There might well be a humanistic shell of a church intact, but a shell of a church is not a legitimate church.  I suggest that we be more concerned about Jesus shutting down church than government shutting down church, and that is a warning, a lesson to be learned in our western Covid 19 inflicted church.


The outward appearance of church is in a partial government mandated state of quarantine, but government has no ability to quarantine our personal and supportive relationship with Jesus and with those to whom He has placed us alongside in church.  That being the case, and because God is sovereign, we must not complain.  We must learn our lessons, one being that church has to return to its first love as a living room style relational experience where we enjoy each other's presence as we implement God's will, much of which is accomplished outside of a meeting in a building we mistakenly call church.


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